Caitlin Clark, a University of Iowa basketball player, has been making waves in the NCAA women’s basketball championship, drawing attention from fans and sports pundits alike.
Her performance has been so impressive that Bill Simmons, a prominent sports analyst, has hailed her as the Stephen Curry of women’s basketball, and even predicted that she could become the “biggest female athlete” of the future. With such high praise and expectations, it’s natural to wonder what has led to this level of recognition and what lies ahead for Clark.
What makes Caitlin Clark stand out?
Despite her team’s loss to Louisiana State University, Clark’s performance in the NCAA women’s basketball championship has been nothing short of phenomenal. Over the past three years, she has consistently demonstrated her skills, earning her comparisons to NBA superstar Stephen Curry. Simmons specifically mentioned Clark’s ability to change the way people think about basketball, just as Curry has done with his revolutionary three-point shooting style. “I never thought the next Curry would be a woman,” Simmons said about Clark on his podcast.
🔥 Most points scored in a single March Madness tournament, Mens OR Womens
🔥Women's Championship record 7 3PT & counting
Caitlin. Clark. Is. HER. 🥵 pic.twitter.com/qQkTTBEjYZ
— theScore (@theScore) April 2, 2023
The NCAA championship match between LSU and Iowa drew nearly 10 million viewers on ABC and ESPN2, setting a record for viewership. While Clark is not the sole reason for this surge in interest, her incredible performance has undoubtedly played a significant role. If she can continue to make waves in the sport, she could potentially influence the way women’s basketball is played and perceived, much like Curry has done for the NBA.
Unfortunately for fans eager to see Clark play professionally, she is not eligible for the WNBA draft until 2024 due to her age and collegiate status. As a true junior at 21 years old, she must wait another year before making the transition to the professional league.
Caitlin Clark is only a junior and won't be WNBA eligible until the 2024 draft.
But she’ll likely make more money by staying in college through #NIL deals.
Her most impactful #NIL deal?
An Iowa food bank.
They offered to pay her, but Clark insisted that she work for free. pic.twitter.com/eKlXPTBsiH
— Daniel Wallach (@WALLACHLEGAL) April 2, 2023
Clark has expressed interest in using the additional year of eligibility granted to NCAA athletes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that she could potentially play for the University of Iowa through the 2024-25 season, delaying her WNBA debut even further. However, there may be financial reasons for her to remain in college beyond 2024.